Friday, July 27, 2012

Back To Running And Finding Myself

I never thought that when I became a mother, that my life would change so drastically.  Sure, I knew that I would have to make some adjustments to accommodate a little baby but I never would have believed it could change who I was.  For instance, I never thought that I would succumb to pre-natal and post-partum depression with my second child.  I was so devastated for feeling so disconnected from the world, especially from my husband and two children.  Everyday was a struggle sometimes to even get out of bed and look forward to the day.  Before I had children, I never understood why women would feel this way if they have a beautiful baby to care for and love.  That was me and many other people who have misconceptions of what post-partum depression is really about.
In addition, it affected my ability to care for myself which made me even further depressed.  I couldn't exercise or cook properly.  I was 30lbs. heavier than my normal weight and I didn't have the will to lose it.  I had defined myself ever since I was little as an athlete who loved to be physically active everyday.  To go from this to someone who couldn't bare to put on her runners, it felt like I was a different person.  At times I would hate myself for being this way, especially when it had been my profession as an exercise therapist to help others get in shape.  However, there was another battle that caused great ill to my body.
A few months after the birth of my third child, I started to feel really sick.  I had a host of many unrelated symptoms such as hypothyroid, IBS, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, and many others.  After going to a variety of doctors and tests (all normal) over 2 months, none of them could diagnose what was wrong with me.  I then decided to see a naturopath who diagnosed me as having a overgrowth of Candida that was affecting my body in a variety of ways.  After being put on an anti-Candida diet, taking a variety of herbs and homeopathic remedies, I started to feel so much better.  To further my progress, I recently decided to eat strictly vegan, as well as gluten-free and little to no sugar in my diet.  Along with this and back to my running workouts, my weight is back to normal and feel great!  I also feel better than I have for a very long time, even before having kids.  I do not experience any depressive symptoms anymore, which makes me very happy, and I feel more present with my children and husband.
My decision to go vegan as well as other restrictions is based on the fact that my health this year (and past) had taken a turn for the worse, and I needed to make a drastic choice to get myself back to the women and mother I know I am.  There are some days that I wish I could eat normal food like everyone else, but I know that my mental and physical health is more important to me that a piece of dessert.  The best part is that I am able to run again!!  I am grateful for every morning that I get to be with my kids.  I enjoy the simpler activities a bit more such as reading a book or magazine, or taking care of my plants.  And it has brought me back to my roots as a fitness coach!  I really missed helping others who needed assistance with their fitness and wellness goals.  But now having gone through what I have gone through, I feel more attuned to helping others who may have experience similar struggles.
My picture above was taken today before my early morning run because I had felt so proud of myself in that moment.  It had taken me a while to get to this place where running was a joy.  I felt that I had finally found my way back to myself!

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Friday Family Activity: Trampoline Time

My daughters on the trampoline

There are many reasons why I choose to live a healthful and active lifestyle.  One of those reasons is to be a role-model for my children in performing physical activity in my everyday life.  I also feel that doing activity that is fun and promotes fitness with your children, is a great way to spend some quality time as well as get in some exercise for yourself.
One of our favourite activities is jumping on the trampoline.  It is such as great workout and I find myself catching my breath at times.  It is a form of Rebounding, a trampoline type exercise that has proven many health benefits such as increase lymphatic flow, reduce osteoporosis and enhances weight management.  Not only this, but trampolining is so much fun to do!! In terms of fitness, it can increase core stability and leg strength.  My children enjoy the feeling of jumping in air.  We play games such as Ring Around The Rosie or London Bridges that can get pretty exhausting after doing it over and over again.  Give it a try, today!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 7 of 21-Day Meditation Challenge

Does travel interfere with your meditation ritual?  After just coming back from our family trip, meditating was difficult to fit in.  I wasn't able to fit in all the days I wanted to while on vacation, but I was able to figure out some solutions.  Listen to my video to hear what I had come up with.

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Dynamic Warm-Up For Busy Moms

I have been advising mothers ever since I was a fitness trainer, about the importance of a fitting in a dynamic warm-up before commencing exercise.  Many of them tell me that they just don't have enough time to fit it in.  When they are able to find a time during the day to work-out, they feel that a dynamic warm-up will waste their precious time they have.  However, this can lead to potential injuries down the road if the body is not prepared for the specific exercise it is required to perform.
Many moms choose to exercise first thing in the morning, before their children awake.  This is the most crucial time to fit in a dynamic warm-up since the body has just been at rest for nearly 6-8 hours.  Although, if a mom chooses to workout later on in the day they may not necessarily need a dynamic warm-up especially if they have been running around with their children all day.
I am a firm believer preparing your body for the physical demands of a workout, depending on your intensity and type.  A few benefits of a dynamic warm-up are:
  1. It increases blood flow to your joints, ligaments and tendons via vaso-dilation which increases elasticity and reduce tears/pulls.
  2. It increases oxygen consumption for the muscles as well as the stimulates the Central Nervous System (CNS).
  3. It prepares the body for the activity by mimicking similar body movements.
  4. It can help to mentally prepare for the physical demands of the activity.
So what does this all mean?  It means that dynamic warm-up plays an important role in preparing the body for exercise.  I tell all busy moms that even a few minutes of warm-up is better than nothing.  After much of my research, there is no specific number of minutes that should be designated for warm-up.  With many advanced athletes, warm-up fits into their sport such as training movement patterns.  If you can find at least 5 - 10 minutes of warm-up before exercising, that would be most sufficient.

Here a few simple dynamic warm-up exercises to help you get moving:

  1. Easy jog forward, backwards and sideways.
  2. Arm circles while jogging forward.
  3. Single-leg swings forwards and sideways (holding on to a chair or wall).
  4. Easy squats or walking lunges (slight bend in the knee on the down)
So fitness mamas...get your warm-up in before you venture out to exercise.  You have come so far in your fitness journey that sustaining an injury that could have been prevented would be devastating.

  1. Integrated Warm-Ups by Anette Lang, January 17, 2007
  2. Dynamic Warm-Up Routines for Sport by Adrian Faccioni, April 3, 2001

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sugar-Free Living Recipes: Almond Butter and Honey Granola

I adapted this recipe from Carol Anne's Kitchen.  It be hard to find gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet breakfasts from the grocery store.  For those of us on a strict diet, making your own is the best option to prevent unnecessary reactions.  I knew this Almond Butter and Honey Granola would be hit once I started mixing the ingredients.  If you are eliminating sugar completely from your diet, omit the honey/maple syrup.  This recipe is also great for to Vata or Kapha types (Ayurveda).

2 1/2 cups of Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free Oats
1/2 cup of Shredded Coconut
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds
1/8 cup Flax seeds
1/2 cup Natural Almond Butter
2 Tbsps. Organic Coconut Oil
1/3 cup Unpasteurized Honey/Maple Syrup
2 Tbsps. Unsweetened Carob Chips
Oil for Pan

  1. Mix together oats, coconut, cinnamon, sunflower seeds, flax seeds.
  2. On low heat mix almond butter, coconut oil, honey and carob chips in a small pot.
  3. Stir wet and dry ingredients together.
  4. Spread granola mixture onto a greased pan.
  5. Cook at 275 F for 1 hour until browned (cooking may be adjusted depending on your oven).
*Carob does not contain any caffeine.
**Almond Butter is less acidic in the body as compared to Peanut Butter.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sugar-Free Baby Recipes: Sweet Potatoe, Green & Yellow Beans, Chicken Puree

Steamed Sweet Potato
Steamed Yellow Beans
Steamed Green Beans
Cooked Chicken Cubes

In food processor, combine all ingredients to desired consistency.  Add a small pinch of cumin and tumeric.

*Cumin and Tumeric spices have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
** Buy organic vegetables wherever possible.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 4: 21 Day Meditation Challenge

It is Day 4 of my 21 Day Meditation Challenge and I have another potential obstacle towards the completion of my journey.  We decided to go to the lake for a few days with a cabin full of extended family members.  The great thing was that I brought along my iPhone and headphones so I can easily download my meditation focus for the day.  However, the tricky thing is finding a quiet spot to do the meditation practice.  I had to resort to meditating in our room, with very little space, on the bed.  There was some noise in the background and I lost focus throughout the meditation.  Though, I had to let that go and re-focused on my breathing to get me back on track.
In addition, I find that being at the lake allows me to relax and feel more present with nature.  My best meditation throughout the four days was last night by far.  The breeze from our window that brought in that fresh forest air was enough to let me immerse into the meditation.  I look forward to Day 5's focus - Freedom To Heal 



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Love My Mom, Fitness and HORMONES Logo!!

Since I have been starting my new meditation practice, I thought I would share my logo with you. It pretty much sums up that my meditation practice is squeezed in between housework, children, and blogging! MFM 

On My Plate: Turkey and Potatoe

Turkey and Potato Dish

This is a very filling, hearty turkey dish.  This can be used with either leftover turkey (etc. Christmas, Thanksgiving) or ground turkey.  

Small Bag of Yellow Baby Potatoes
1 lb. Cooked Ground Turkey or Turkey Leftovers
1 Onion, chopped
1 Celery, chopped
1 Carrot, sliced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 Zuchinni, cut in halves
Olive Oil
Lemon and Dill Spice

Cut baby potatoes into halves and place them in a big Ziploc bag.  Sprinkle in lemon & dill spice with 2 tbsp. olive oil and shake bag until well-coated.  Spread on a well-greased baking sheet.  Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
In a cooking pan, cook a medium heat onions, celery, bell peppers and zuchinni for about 5 -10 minutes, until vegetables are slightly soft.  Turn heat to low and add cooked turkey to the pan to warm up.  Once potatoes are finished, mix in with the turkey and vegetable mixture.  Enjoy!

Extra Nutritional Info:
  • Great for those on a yeast-free diet, if you are allowing potatoes in your diet.  Potatoes can be replaced with more variety of vegetables.
  • Good Pitta and Kapha types on a Ayurveda diet (Vata types are sensitive to potatoes and turkey)
  • Now added sugars or sauces.  You can add extra spices if tolerated

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 1: 21-Day Meditation Challenge

The first day of my 21-Day Meditation Challenge had some challenges of its own.  As a mother, it can difficult to find a quiet spot any time of the day to sit in silence.  So had to find a few solutions so my family knows that meditation is Mommy's private time to herself.

Want to join me on this journey towards transformation? 

"Every second of time is a doorway to unbounded possibilities. Yet if you are not open to them, these possibilities shrink." ~ Deepak Chopra

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mint Tea May Ease Digestive Upsets

I had written a few weeks ago about the benefits of Ginger and tummy upsets.  There is a lot of research supporting the affects of Mint Tea with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  It may help ease IBS symptoms and act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.  This is great news for individuals like myself who are experiencing IBS symptoms.  I am experiencing another Candida outbreak in my digestive system, so I have been consuming a lot mint tea in the last couple of weeks.  Candida causes major imbalances in the digestive tract, that can cause sever IBS symptoms.  I take mint tea, specifically Spearmint, in loose-leaf tea form following meals.  If there is research behind the benefits of this herb, than I am more than willing to give it a try to relieve my symptoms.  It may be taken in many forms, so if you are considering taking this herb for relief of IBS, I would recommend seeing a Naturopathic doctor for guidance.  All herbs should be considered as medicinal and should be treated as such (my little tidbit for the day).


A Little Bit About Me

I wanted to introduce myself with a video to tell a little bit about me and why I started this blog.  My motivation for this blog was to share my experiences as a mom trying to get fit and healthy while going through all the things motherhood that 'throws' at me.  It is also my intention to act as a resource for other mothers who need some advice or assistance with their fitness and wellness journey.
I have a B. Sc. in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan and worked as an exercise therapist before becoming a mom.  I am also a fitness instructor and coach of Moms In Motion in my local area as well as on-line.  In addition, I am a representative of USANA Health Sciences and host 5-Day RESET Challenges for anyone who is interested in getting a start on their health and fitness goals.  This includes 5 Days of Supplements, a 5 Day Fitness Program, and a 5 Day Meal Plan.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

On My Plate: Applesauce Muffins (No Sugar Added)

Applesauce Muffins (No Sugar Added)

I adapted this recipe from Cat Can Cook to make it wheat-free with no sugar added.  I used unsweetened applesauce, but to make it a bit more sweet, sweetened applesauce can be used.

1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Applesauce (or Sweetened)
3 Tbsp. Egg Whites (Organic)
1/3 cup Melted Margarine
1 cup Chickpea Flour
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Ground Flaxseeds
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Mix applesauce, egg whites and margarine.  Mix together dry ingredients, then combine with the applesauce mix.  Pour into greased muffin tin.  You may want to sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and Stevia for a hint of sweetness.  Cook at 325 F for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Extra Nutritional Info:
  • Wheat and Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Yeast-Free (if fruit and flour are tolerated)
  • Low Sugar
  • These are also tasty with spreads such as nut butters

My 21-Day Meditation Challenge

My New Meditation Sanctuary

One item on my bucket list this fall is to start a deeper meditation practice.  I have tried for years to incorporate meditation into my daily routine but, as a mother, there never seems to be a time for just myself in a silence.  Since my husband is on a vacation this summer, this seems like the perfect time to start!
I am currently reading a book by Lisa Coffey called What's Your Dharma?: Discover the Vedic Way to Your Life's Purpose. I have read such rave reviews about Lisa and her take on Vedic Sanskrit.  There are four yoga paths Lisa mentions as our guides to better understanding who we really are.  They are Bhakti Yoga (LOVE), Karma Yoga (WORK), Jnana Yoga (KNOWLEDGE), and Raja Yoga (MEDITATION).  After taking the Dharma Quiz from the book, my answers revealed that I was most likely to be a Raja Yoga, which I was not surprised.
So I decided to take this opportunity with the time that I have, to give meditation an honest try.  I joined The Chopra Centre's 21-Day Meditation Challenge starting next Monday, July 16th.  It is a guided meditation series for anyone wanting to enrich their lives through this practice.  The best part is that the series is FREE!!
If you are interested in joining me on this journey, go to WWW.CHOPRA.COM for more information.  I would also recommend reading Lisa Coffey's What's Your Dharma? for tips to living your life's full purpose.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On My Plate: Sugar-Free Almond Butter Cookies with Carob Chips

For those of you who are looking for a flour-free, sugar-free treat these cookies are the perfect fit!  I know they are great because my children love them as well (and they are tough customers to please).

1 cup Almond Butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil (organic)
1/8 cup Powdered Stevia
3 Tbsp. Egg Whites (organic)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/3 cup Unsweetened Carob Chips

Mix all ingredients together.  Scoop 1 tsp. for each cookie in a well-greased cookie tray.  Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before removing (if you can resist).

Extra Nutritional Info:
  • Great for those on specialty diets: sugar-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free
  • Ayruveda: Almond butter is generally great for all types: Pitta, Vata and Kapha.  Egg Whites are a bit easier for Pitta types.  Unsweetened Carob Chips do not contain caffeine or sugar.  Stevia is a safe sugar substitute.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Back In My Runners...Again!!

 Out for my morning jog at the lake!

For the first time in a few years, I am putting on my favourite Saucony sneakers and heading out the door to do what I love to do - RUN.  I wish I could say that my love for running has motivated me to keep running these past couple of years, but my life has been a roller coaster ride.  Along with having three beautiful children, I have suffered post-partum depression and severe food sensitivities (yeast, wheat, dairy), and that has it has dampened my spirits to exercise.  Before becoming a mother, which is the best job in the world, I was a highly energetic personal trainer and fitness instructor.  I had a very busy and active lifestyle.  Since having my children, my lifestyle has changed somewhat, as you can imagine.  In addition, I had a downpour of healthy issues which made me very doubtful that I will ever find that person I once was...a person who lived and breathed running.
This year has been a lot of work to get my body and energy to a place where I feel healthy enough to start running again. I was so nervous because I feared that my body would reject this old activity that I had missed so much.  On my first short run last week, I was just about in tears!  The run felt so wonderful I didn't want to stop.  But I know as a fitness that running further would not be a good idea for acquiring injuries.  I was so emotional because I had been fighting for this moment for so long.  I felt a glimmer of who I was, who I am meant to be.  I do realize, however, that I will never be the exact person I was.  Too many things have changed in my life.  The time with my family is the most precious to me.  My new diet regimen is one that takes time during my day to plan and prepare.  But if I can find a way to give myself a piece of my past into my day with running, I know I can live with that fact.

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all.  ~Emily Dickinson

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On My Plate: Taco Turkey and Black Bean Wrap

Taco Turkey and Black Bean Wrap

This is such a simple and healthy recipe!  It is packed with high quality protein and low fat.

1 lb. Lean Ground Turkey
1 Onion, chopped
1 cup Red Pepper, chopped
1 can Black Beans
1 pkg. Low Sodium Taco Seasoning
Ancient Grain Wrap
Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in pan.  Brown onion and turkey meat.  Add red pepper, black beans, taco seasoning and 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and turn down heat to a simmer.  Cook until liquid is absorbed.  Serve on Ancient Grain or Multi-grain Wrap.  Enjoy!

Extra Nutritional Info:
  • Ayurveda: Great for Pitta and Vatta types
  • Wheat-free/Gluten-free: Eliminate the wrap or use a corn wrap as an alternative
  • Great for those on a yeast-free diet

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ginger Tea...A Tummy Soother

(Note: The lighting on the video may not be great!!  I am on vacation at the lake!)

These past few months, I have had another bad Candida outbreak!!  Since I stopped breastfeeding my son a few months, my hormones have been wrecking havoc on my body, especially my digestive system.  I have felt so nauseous along with a whole lot of other systems.  As per usual with Candida, all blood tests are normal so it leaves someone like me to turn to my wonderful naturopath, Dr. Pawha for some advice.
He recommended the usual: Probiotic, Psyllium Husks, Aruvedya diet and, now, Ginger Tea.  I remember someone telling me about Ginger Tea when I had morning sickness with my pregnancies, but I didn't think about it in my current condition.  My naturopath, who was born and raised in India, stated that Ginger has incredible healing properties for tummy aches and pains such as balancing your wacky stomach acids.  It is a spice that is used quite frequently in their cooking.  Dr. Pawha also mentioned that drinking it in loose-leaf tea form or grating raw ginger root on your foods is the best way to received the full benefit of this spice.
I would love to hear your thoughts about Ginger Tea.  Have you ever tried it?  How did you feel?